Royal patron meets Future Brunels

18 May 2023


18 May 2023


This May, HRH The Princess Royal – who is a patron of the SS Great Britain Trust – met with students on the Future Brunels programme at an Engineering Showcase event. 

  • This month, HRH The Princess Royal met with Future Brunels students aged between 12 and 14 years old at an Engineering Showcase event at Brunel’s SS Great Britain. 


  • The SS Great Britain Trust’s Future Brunel’s programme launched in 2011, with the aim of tackling barriers into engineering and STEM careers. Each year, 12 students are chosen to experience a five-year programme of extraordinary, rich and varied out-of-school engineering experiences. 


  • Engineers and STEM career leaders from six leading engineering companies provided inspiring activities during the Engineering Showcase. 
HRH The Princess Royal heard how meeting engineers from companies like Rolls-Royce provides inspiring role models for Future Brunels – a unique programme tackling barriers into careers in STEM and engineering. 

This May, HRH The Princess Royal – who is a patron of the SS Great Britain Trust – met with students on the Future Brunels programme at an Engineering Showcase event.  

 Future Brunels is a unique five-year STEM programme run by the Trust. It is supported by leading engineering companies with a shared interest in addressing inequality and barriers into STEM careers for young people.  

 By providing rich and varied out-of-classroom experiences, the SS Great Britain Trust aims to inspire young people from all backgrounds to explore engineering and STEM careers.  

 At the Engineering Showcase, Princess Anne saw first-hand how important it is to invest in the next generation of engineers as she met STEM learning leaders and engineers from leading companies headquartered in the West of England. 

 During her visit HRH met with Oscar Derrick, Degree Apprentice at Babcock International with University of the West of England (UWE). Oscar graduated from the Future Brunels programme in 2017 and is now inspiring future engineers. 

 Princess Anne also met with engineers from Babcock International Group, HP, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce, Stannah and Wessex Water – all partner companies of the Future Brunels programme. These companies support the programme by providing access to real-life engineering situations and engineers. 


HRH The Princess Royal meets with Future Brunels and engineers from Babcock International including Degree Apprentice Oscar Derrick (far left) who had previously been on the programme. 

Dr Rachel Roberts, Deputy Director of the Brunel Institute (Education and STEM) at the SS Great Britain Trust said: 

 “The Future Brunels programme helps to address inequality and barriers into science and engineering careers for young people from all backgrounds. What started as a pilot approach back in 2011 is more important than ever now in collaborating with engineering companies across the West of England to support a diverse talent pipeline for the region. We’ve been delighted to welcome back one of our Future Brunels alumni, Oscar, who is working as a Degree Apprentice with Babcock International. To see Oscar as an engineering role model himself is a truly rewarding full circle moment.” 

Dr Richard Drake, Babcock’s Group Chief Technology Officer, said:

“As a major Bristol employer, Babcock is proud to support the local community and it is fantastic to work with Future Brunels, a programme which provides schoolchildren with such engaging learning experiences. The SS Great Britain is one of Brunel’s finest achievements and events like this play a valuable role in inspiring the STEM stars of tomorrow and ensuring the West of England continues to be a hotbed of engineering talent.

We’ve been involved in Future Brunels since its launch more than 10 years ago and we look forward to continuing our support.”


Future Brunels students from Merchants’ Academy meet with software engineer and STEM outreach technician Lucy Spiteri-Beale from Renishaw. 

Rebecca Bound, Early Careers STEM Outreach Officer at Renishaw, said:  

 “Renishaw has been a member of the Brunel Institute Corporate Academy (BICA) for over a decade, forming part of our extensive programme of STEM outreach activities that we operate or sponsor in the West of England and South Wales regions to develop new generations of engineers. 

 We have supported the Future Brunels programme throughout that period, working with the SS Great Britain Trust to inspire participants to consider engineering careers, including visits to our Gloucestershire HQ, where they undertake a range of fun STEM activities and learn about career opportunities from our apprentices and graduates. 

 Our STEM outreach programmes are inclusive and targeted at students from across our communities. This is why we especially like the Future Brunels programme, which aims to show that engineering can be a great career for students from all types of backgrounds, helping to ensure that we close the skills gap that we face across the UK’s engineering sectors.”  


Fiona Neil and Pernille Thomsen from Stannah meet with Future Brunels to explore how hydraulics can power passenger lifts and some of the tools Stannah stairlift engineers use during the design process to help them better understand the issues older stairlift users may face. 

Jon Stannah, Managing Director of Stannah, said: 

 “The Future Brunels programme is a blueprint for truly meaningful collaboration between educational charities, businesses and the schools they support. The programme not only boosts understanding of how STEM subjects can be applied in the real world but inspires the young people to think about a range of STEM careers which are so important to the success of the British economy. Our founder, my great, great grandfather, Joseph Stannah, a contemporary of Brunel, would be delighted to see we continue what he saw as every business’ duty to contribute to the wider education of the younger generations.” 

Future Brunels

Discover more about the Future Brunels scheme here:
Future Brunels

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